8 steps to measure the impact of your leadership programme
Posted on 3rd November 2022 at 15:21
When you invest in Leadership and Management Development, how do you know it makes a difference?
Hopefully you’ve arrived here because you already have or are intending to create a strong leadership and management development programme for your business.
It’s imperative that organisations develop their managers and leaders as fully as possible. Your people at the helm are there not just to steady the ship, but to drive the business forward, whether that means promoting growth, delivering results or creating a cultural shift; it’s a big ask.
It’s no surprise then, that companies invest heavily in seeing they establish good leaders but also and perhaps even more importantly, companies encourage those leaders to flourish and grow in line with the changing needs of the business.
What Can I Expect to See?
As you begin your journey to develop great leaders, undoubtedly, one of your key requirements will be to understand how investing in such a leadership and management programme adds value to individuals and to the business itself.
Think about the contrast between sales training and management training. With sales training, you’re able to measure success at the various intervals of the sales process and track whether there has been an increase in revenue or profit.
Things change a little when we consider leadership training, which is not so quantifiable. So you may ask yourself, “where do we start?”
It can feel overwhelming to tackle the analysis of the programme as a whole.
Here at 42think, we’re keen to share with you our 8-step guide to help you break down the ways you can begin to measure how much of an impact your leadership and management programme has made.
Let’s explore the 8 steps
1. Ask Yourself ~ Why are we doing this?
There is a plethora of profiling tools available to HR and Learning and Development practitioners, providing a helpful framework when exploring behaviour in a number of situations.
At 42think we specialise in developing leaders and senior teams, therefore it’s important for us to choose a model that can stand a bit of credibility bashing and cynicism as these things often (and sometimes rightly) experience in our line of work.
We are big fans of credible profiling tools and PRISM in particular. You can find out more about this model in our PRISM page.
2. Look at where you are now
It has been said that we can’t get to where we’re going without looking at where we are now. What’s going on with your business? Be honest. Is there something happening that shouldn’t be? Or something not happening when you want it to be? By taking an overview of your systems, employees and even your instinct, you should be able to get a good grasp of where your business is at day to day.
Here are some examples of the challenges organisations face day to day:
• High attrition in a specific area of the business
• Low morale reflected in employee surveys
• Lack of performance from employees
• Navigating the business through a period of change
• Realigning the cultural values of the business
• A lack of clarity or understanding of what is happening at ground level.
By targeting one or two of these areas very specifically, it can make the task of measuring the impact of any training much easier, particularly if there is numerical or statistical data to back up your findings.
Of course, it’s good practice to keep track of what’s changing along the way and no better way to do that than by examining how the numbers stack up before, during and after the process. Quarterly appraisal usually provides for a decent length of time to allow change to take hold.
It is almost impossible to select the best learning methods for your programme until you know what you’re dealing with. So, before you even begin to shoot, set yourself that goal.
3. Take stock before and after
Measuring the impact of a leadership and management development programme starts well before the learning begins. Capturing feedback right at the start of the process is just as important as analysing those end results too.
Consider asking individuals to complete a Likert Scale for qualitative responses such as:
• I am practicing my leadership in my role
• I understand how best to support people through organisational change
Or for a more statistical approach, encourage individuals to grade where they see themselves numerically by using a scale:
• I am confident in dealing with performance issues
• I am aware of my leadership skills and blind spots
• I understand the impact I have upon others at work
Capturing this feedback early on provides a snapshot of where people believe they are currently and gets them reflecting about their behaviour. It makes clearer the path for progression as they work towards where they want to be.
This is already starting the learning process for participants.
By completing similar feedback at the end of the leadership and management development programme, you should be able to see a clear picture of progress and also gain a better understanding of the confidence levels within the group.
Using this research as a practice can be particularly helpful if there are elements which require participants to put learning into practice, meaning they are cementing their knowledge and adjusting behaviours.
4. Post programme evaluation
Many people start to think about measurement at this point and frankly, it's too little and too late to really establish shift and impact.
Make sure to delve into the content, learning methods, timing, applicartion and all components of the design and transfer of learning.
A good time to evaluate a programme is around four weeks after completion. This should give your participants enough time to have reflected upon what they have learned and to consider whether they have implemented new techniques or have adapted older ones to make a positive change.
The evaluation needn’t stop once your leaders have looked back upon their learning experience but more than that, the focus should be upon moving forward. Have they considered using what they have learned in the next stages of their career? If so, how so? How can these new tools propel them in new directions?
There is nothing more valuable to you as the programme lead, than to receive honest feedback. Those responses may help shape your future programmes, tweaking the areas to make it more tailored moving forward. In addition, this post learning evaluation can be a valuable tool to assess return on investment.
5. Get your current leaders onboard
Blended learning programmes don’t come cheap and rightly so, you’d expect to see the programme bring about a noticeable difference within the workplace. In addition to the financial layout, you’re allowing employees time away from work, time to attend workshops and time to complete online learning and projects. With some leadership programmes lasting months, that’s a lot of investment all told.
You’d hope that your leaders and managers would be able to communicate how well they’re learning but often, employee responses may not represent a full picture, may have bias or may even constitute an employee telling a boss what they think they want to hear. That’s not to say there’s any intentional deception, more just human nature.
We’re not suggesting you send a spy in! But it can’t hurt to get line managers involved from the start of the process. They’re there in the capacity of a mentor, in effect, to support those through the leadership programme. It’s a great way of keeping various levels of management connected too, creating an awareness of what is happening in each other’s worlds.
Findings from the 2022 Learner Intelligence Report has shown that the more successful management and leadership programmes are those whereby participants are supported by a line manager throughout. In being able to talk things through, it keeps an open line of communication. It provides an opportunity to touch base, something we know can all too often fall by the wayside at busy times.
There’s an added benefit too. Working alongside an emerging or developing leader may help your current leaders to reflect on their own skills as managers. New practices may give them a nudge to further improve their own ways of working, by embracing different concepts and ideas. After all, the minute we stop learning is the minute we stop growing.
6. Coach and facilitator observations
It’s likely that your management and leadership programme will have one or two facilitators who not only design and curate the programme, but manage and deliver it too. They are the golden thread running through the learning, placed right at the centre of the action and who better to glean information from? Facilitators are best placed to offer individual feedback attributed to an individual.
They may be able to answer questions you have, including:
• How committed are they to learning?
• Is there a likelihood of this being put into practice?
• Has their perspective or behaviour changed in a way that makes it difficult to observe?
As disappointing as it can be to hear, there are times learning coaches may have missed the mark too. Individuals may have struggled to grasp elements of the programme or have under delivered on what is being asked. Although not ideal, this information isn’t wasted. It provides an opportunity to pave the way for change and make alternative choices when planning future leadership programmes.
7. Profile participants
There are a number of brilliant profiling tools available to provide a powerful insight to accompany individuals progressing through their management and leadership development programmes.
At 42think, we use the PRISM model. PRISM is based on neuroscience and allows for those wonderful contradictions and nuances each of us encounter as we progress in our career paths.
PRISM is a self-assessment, but the model is simple and user-friendly. It provides an excellent platform for individuals to understand both themselves and others, build better relationships, enable adaptability and provide a common language to explore the cultural environment of the organisation.
Profiling can be used right from the start of the leadership and management programme and drawn upon throughout various modules of the learning journey. It may be particularly useful to help explore one to one coaching, self-reflection, project management and the transfer of learning. To have others in the workplace familiarise themselves with the same profiling model is an ideal way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
8. Trust the process
If you have each of the steps in place, then rest assured, you’re on your way to positive change. Let’s have a quick recap. Have you:
1. Done your groundwork?
2. Answered ‘Why are we doing this?’
3. Answered ‘What's happening now?’
4. Appointed a trusted team to create and deliver the learning programme? One which allows for natural flexibility as individuals evolve?
5. Encouraged your current line managers to join the process in the role of supporter along the journey of your emerging leaders?
6. Established realistic touch points and check ins along the way?
7. Agreed measures and engagement with stakeholders?
The process doesn’t have to stop there. Why not draw on those who are directly managed by your participants to collect their feedback?
These team members are providing an opportunity to see firsthand if there has been an organisational shift at ground level or an improvement in a specific area.
Your employees are the voice of your business, so utilise them and listen carefully to their thoughts and opinions.If you have these measures in place, you are ready to embark on an exciting journey.
All flowers start with a seed, planted in ground that has been prepared. With light and water comes growth. If nurtured in the right way, then there is no greater sense of achievement to see something or someone flourish.
42think specialise in growing leaders and teams.
It’s our passion to work with clients looking to elevate performance, productivity and personal impact. We offer bespoke leadership and management programmes workshops, transformational coaching and 360 feedback initiates to get you on the right track.
Susie Guthrie FCIPD
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